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Roddick Wants Tennis Talk to Cease

August 28, 2002

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NEW YORK (AP) _ Andy Roddick is tired of talk about ``The Next Great American Hope.″

``It’s honestly a little annoying now,″ he said after winning his first-round match at the U.S. Open. ``I’ve answered that question at almost every press conference for the last two years. My answer’s been pretty much the same. It’s there. It’s something I have to deal with.″

The 11th-seeded Roddick, who turns 20 Friday, moved into the second round by beating Dutch qualifier Martin Verkerk 7-6 (2), 6-3, 6-4 Tuesday night.

Roddick was treated for a blister on his right hand during the final set but it didn’t seem to bother him. He had just 10 errors to 46 for Verkerk.

Roddick and James Blake, in particular, have been looked upon to match the standards for U.S. men’s tennis set by Grand Slam tournament champions Andre Agassi, Pete Sampras and Michael Chang, now in their 30s, and Jim Courier, who’s retired.

``We’re not going to replace the greatest generation of all time from one country,″ Roddick said. ``But I’m going to do my best and maybe I can have some of the success that the generation before me has enjoyed.″

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QUITTIN’ TIME: Through the first two days of the U.S. Open, a Grand Slam tournament-record seven men quit during first-round matches because of injuries.

That also ties the U.S. Open record men retiring over the course of an entire tournament.

The previous Grand Slam record was six in the first round at the 1998 U.S. Open. The high for an entire major tournament is eight, set at the 1998 Australian Open.

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HAPPY BIRTHDAY: Carlos Moya’s 3-6, 6-4, 6-3, 7-6 (4) first-round victory over Adrian Voinea on Tuesday was a 26th birthday present for the Spaniard.

He’s one of six men celebrating birthdays during the Open. The others are Juan Ignacio Chela (23) and Andy Roddick (20) on Friday, Tim Henman (28) and Greg Rusedski (29) on Sept. 6 and Sjeng Schalken (26) on Sept. 8.

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PARTNERS FOR SUCCESS: Tracy Austin was honored for her role as a WTA Tour mentor on Tuesday night. Austin helped guide the career of Alexandra Stevenson.

``She’s a great champion,″ said Stevenson, once a Wimbledon semifinalist. ``I wish I could be like her some day. It’s just great that the WTA assigned me Tracy. She’s been a wonderful mentor. I know it’s going to keep continuing even though I’ve graduated. She’ll always be there for me.″

The program assigns a senior player to a young player for guidance.

``I came up at 14 with my mom,″ Austin said. ``We had no idea what we were doing. We had no idea which tournaments to enter, how many tournaments to play. There’s a zillion and one questions that you would love to ask somebody that’s already been there, somebody that you trust. So I think it’s a terrific program.″

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SMASHZONE TESTS FANS: Fans at the U.S. Open can test their skills at the USA Tennis SmashZone, which features 12,000 square feet of tennis activities, including seven stations testing hand-eye coordination, accuracy and speed.

Fans can measure strength of serve or play the role of sports broadcaster by calling the action from a past U.S. Open match.

Clinics and player appearances are also scheduled.

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